Adventurer and expedition leader Chaz Powell is set to become the first ever person to walk the entire length of the Zambezi River in one outing while raising money and awareness for wildlife conservation. Setting out in August, Chaz will walk for 6 months through the driest and hottest months of the year in order to find safe passage through the floodplains and finishing this gruelling challenge during the November to January wet season.
36 year old Powell from Shropshire is aiming to go one better than David Lemon who, at an incredible 69 years of age, was the first person to walk the Zambezi River in two stages, excluding its path through Angola where he failed to obtain a Visa. Chaz will start this mammoth, 1600 mile, expedition from the Zambezi source in North Western Zambia, passing through Angola for 150 miles, back into Zambia, then crossing through Mozambique until finally reaching the river’s mouth at the Indian Ocean.
Lemon has given Chaz his full support and offers these words of encouragement “Known as ‘The Mighty Zambezi’ throughout most of Africa, The Zambezi River has captured the imagination of Mankind through the ages. Having walked it myself, I know what Chaz Powell faces and wish him all the luck in the world. Believe me Chaz, when you reach the sea at Chinde, it will be the high spot of your life and a moment that will live in your memory for ever.”
Money raised from the feat will be donated to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF).
“I chose to raise money for the DSWF because they show the same passion and commitment that I’d need for this challenge to fight wildlife crime and protect endangered wildlife. I feel we can work together to make a huge difference.”
The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) is a non-profit organisation funding key projects in Africa and Asia working to save critically endangered animals in the wild. Founded in 1981 by wildlife artist and conservationist, David Shepherd CBE, the charity works to fight wildlife crime and protect precious wildlife populations by engaging with local people to nurture long-term, sustainable solutions to human-animal conflicts.
“Every year our Wildlife Warrior fundraising volunteers play a critical role in raising much-needed funds to support our conservation projects in Africa and Asia working to protect some of the world’s most endangered and iconic animals,” said DSWF CEO Sally Case. “We are immensely grateful to Chaz for committing such an amazing amount of energy and time on behalf of the charity. To walk the Zambezi River, solo and unaided, is such a massive challenge both physically and mentally and we will support him with every step.”
He plans to walk solo and unaided, relying on help from people along the river for food and accommodation as well as carrying all equipment needed to survive alone such as camping equipment and dry foods.
“Being a passionate adventurer I want to challenge myself in the wildest of environments and have an itch to walk a relatively unexplored region” says Chaz. “My main aim during the walk is to raise money and awareness for wildlife conservation throughout Africa, and to highlight the growing concerns of wildlife crimes happening all over the world. My dream to have an education scheme running throughout Africa educating people to understand and protect wildlife from an early age is something I share with DSWF.”
When asked about the challenge that may befall him on his epic journey this summer, Chaz seems unfazed by the dangers “The terrain will be testing, the heat will be a big factor, the wildlife and mosquitoes will be trying to eat me, border crossings might be tricky. I will encounter Lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, buffalo, crocs, snakes, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and a fair few more. To be honest there is quite a lot that could go wrong. Guess that makes it all the more exciting and challenging for me.”
“The Water-to-Go bottle will make the crucial difference in obtaining safe clean drinking water, whilst hiking along the wilds of the Mighty Zambezi River. Recently, whilst traversing La Palma, I used my Water-to-Go bottle to drink from streams, rivers, canals and even water dripping from rocks, it made all the difference.”
Chaz has a wealth of expedition experience “I’m a summer mountain leader and have recently became an expedition leader. I have walked several long distance paths in the UK including the UK’s longest river (The Severn) over 12 days.” The 36 year old from Shropshire is not taking the expedition lightly and has been doing training walks along the Zambezi, walking with a guide and armed guard through the Mosi-o-Tunya national park, learning how to walk amongst wild animals, as well as a walk along the Zambezi Gorges (one of the trickiest sections of the expeditions) and a walk through the African bush.
“During January I was on an expedition hitchhiking to Europe’s most Northern Point on a small budget to film and admire the Northern Lights. I have just finished walking the length of La Palma the world’s steepest island. It is such a mega diverse island with jungles, caves, volcanoes, ice capped mountains, alpine forests and some of the most amazing sites I have ever witnessed.”
You can follow his journey on:
If you would like to support Chaz and help raise funds for wildlife conservation throughout Africa you can donate on his Just Giving page.